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Am J Epidemiol. 1985 Mar;121(3):391-402.

Mortality among white and nonwhite farmers in North Carolina, 1976-1978.


Death certificate information identified 9,245 white and 3,508 nonwhite men who died in North Carolina during 1976-1978 and who had been farmers. The distribution of deaths from various causes among these men was compared to that of other male decedents in the state. For both white and nonwhite farmers, proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) were elevated for tuberculosis (whites, 1.6; nonwhites, 1.7), diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (whites, 2.5; nonwhites, 1.5), and external causes (whites, 1.2; nonwhites, 1.1) and were decreased for cancers of the esophagus (whites and nonwhites, 0.5) and large intestine and rectum (whites and nonwhites, 0.7). White farmers had an increased relative frequency of melanoma (PMR = 1.2) and other skin cancer (PMR = 1.8), while nonwhite farmers had an increased relative frequency of melanoma (PMR = 6.3), brain cancer (PMR = 2.3), and leukemia (PMR = 1.9). In addition, among decedents under 65 years of age, both white and nonwhite farmers had an elevated proportional mortality ratio for prostate cancer (whites, 1.6; nonwhites, 1.3). Many of these results are consistent with observations from other studies. Some of these findings, particularly those for nonwhites, warrant further evaluation, including detailed investigation of possibly related farming practices.

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